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A lint trap or lint catcher is an important component of a dryer. There are two reasons to empty the lint trap on a regular basis, ideally every time you use the dryer. The first is that it will make the dryer more efficient, and the second is that it will prevent the risk of a major fire. Dryer fires cause thousands of home fires every year, which can result in property damage and even death. Because lint is highly combustible, a dryer fire can also quickly rage out of control, so do yourself a favor and remember to remove all the lint every time after drying.
The lint trap acts as a filter between the dryer and the exhaust vent. As air is vented through the dryer and heated, it passes through the lint trap on the way out of the dryer so that lint does not accumulate in the exhaust vent or tubing. As clothing dries, large amounts of lint can be produced, and most of the lint will be caught by the lint filter. Not all of the lint will be collected, however, so it is a good idea to regularly clean a dryer to remove accumulated lint. If your clothing is coming out damp or taking a long time to dry, it suggests that some part of the dryer vent system may be blocked, which could pose a fire hazard. Empty the lint trap and check the ventilation tubing to make sure that it is not obstructed before you use the dryer again.
Most lint traps pull out of the top of the dryer. Lint has been collected on the screen of the lint trap, and it can be easily pulled off and thrown away. You should also periodically wash the lint trap, to remove accumulated dirt and small pieces of lint. After you cleanit, you should always slide it back into the slot on the dryer designed for it; never run a dryer without the lint trap in place.
If the lint trap is not cleaned frequently, a thick wall of lint will form on it. This will prevent air from circulating in the dryer, which will increase the length of time it takes to dry clothing. It also increases the fire risk, because of the large amount of flammable lint caught in the trap and knocking around the dryer. Typically, a dryer fire starts inside the dryer, and by the time members of the household realize what is going on, it will have gotten quite large.
You should remind all members of a household to empty the lint trap each time they use to the dryer. Some people prefer to empty the lint trap before running a load, while others do it afterwards, so it is a good idea to check the lint trap before drying a load to make sure that it is clean. Make sure to discard of the lint in an area away from flame, because of the flammability issue, and avoid drying anything which may emit flammable fumes.